Auburn rises to No. 4 in AP's Top 25

Updated: November 24, 2013, 5:51 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Auburn moved up to No. 4 in The Associated Press college football poll, setting up the second top-five matchup with Alabama in the history of the Iron Bowl.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide received 56 first-place votes and ran its streak of consecutive top-five rankings to 46, tying for the fourth-most in the 77-year history of the AP rankings.

When Alabama plays at Auburn on Saturday it will be the first time since 1971 the heated rivals were both ranked in the top five. The winner takes the SEC West and gets a trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game.

The only other time the Crimson Tide and Tigers played with both teams ranked in the top five, No. 3 Alabama and coach Bear Bryant beat No. 5 Auburn 31-7 and went on to play No. 1 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. The Cornhuskers won that game 38-6.

In this case, Alabama has a straight shot to the BCS national championship game. Beat Auburn and win the SEC title game, and it's on to the Rose Bowl to try to win an unprecedented third straight national title.

For Auburn (10-1), it's a little more complicated. Even with an SEC title, the Tigers might not be able to pass No. 3 Ohio State or No. 2 Florida State.

Florida State received four first-place votes. Undefeated Ohio State moved back to No. 3 after Baylor lost for the first time.

The Bears slipped to No. 9 after a 49-17 loss at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are No. 7. If Baylor wins out and Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma, the Bears win the Big 12 and still go to the Fiesta Bowl.

Oregon plunged seven spots to No. 12 after losing its second game of the season. Joining the Ducks on the way down the poll this week were Texas A&M and UCLA.

A&M dropped 10 spots to No. 19. As much as any BCS game would love to have Johnny Manziel in what could be his college finale, the Aggies (8-3) might not reach the required top-14 BCS ranking to be eligible for an at-large bid. And A&M still has a road trip to No. 5 Missouri -- the Tigers need to win to clinch the SEC East -- on Saturday.

UCLA (8-3) gave the Pac-12 South to No. 13 Arizona State in a 38-33 home loss and dropped eight spots in the rankings to No. 22.

Notre Dame continued its yo-yo season, moving back into the AP poll at No. 25, replacing Mississippi.

The AP poll is not used in the BCS standings that decide which teams play in the VIZIO BCS National Championship. In the USA Today and Harris polls that are used to calcluate the BCS standings, Clemson is No. 4, staying ahead of both Auburn and Missouri.

But both SEC teams gained ground on Clemson in votes in both polls, which could be enough to move them past Clemson when the BCS standings are released Sunday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Last week, the BCS computer average ranked Auburn third, Clemson seventh and Missouri eighth.

When combined with the gain in poll votes, the computers, which make up one-third of the BCS formula, will likely keep Auburn ahead of Clemson for No. 4.

Missouri, which won at No. 24 Ole Miss on Saturday, could also get a big enough boost in the computers to pass Clemson, which beat FCS foe The Citadel at home on Saturday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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